Trim, scrub, boil whole or sliced for 20 or 30 minutes, then drain, peel, and serve with melted butter or white sauce or mashed.
Kohlrabi is delicious served with cheese, curry, Dijon mustard, garlic, ginger, potatoes, rice wine, roasted meats, sesame oil, or soy sauce.
Kholrabi, which mean “cabbage-turnip” in German, is a member of the cabbage and turnip family. You can find kohlrabi year-round at some farm markets. Its peak season is mid-spring to mid-fall.
Unlike the turnip, the swollen stem or base of the kholrabi grows above ground. It can reach the size of an orange and can be white, deep violet, or greenish-white in color.
From the base, thin stalks grow out in all directions. The stalks are tipped with large broccoli-like leaves, are edible, and can be prepared just like spinach.
Kohlrabi stalks are crunchy like broccoli and have a hint of radish and cucumber taste to them. The leaves can have the flavor of turnip greens.
The skin of the kohlrabi base is edible when young. It is best to remove the skin of mature kohlrabi. The flesh of the base has the texture of celery root or turnip. Kohlrabi is the most tender when the base is less than 3 inches (7.5 cm) in diameter.
Choose. Select kohlrabi that is firm and heavy for its size with crisp deeply colored leaves that have no yellowing on their tips. The base should be free of cracks. Small to medium-sized bulbs will be sweet and tender. Overly large bulbs will be tough and strong tasting.
Store. Kohlrabi will keep tightly wrapped for up to 4 days in the refrigerator. If you want to store the base longer, remove the leaves which otherwise will draw moisture away from the base causing it to lose its crispness.
Prepare. When ready to use, remove the leaves, discard the stems, wash in warm water, and then cook. Use the leaves for slow-cooked greens.
To eat kohlrabi raw, remove the stems and then peel. You can strip out the stem by folding together the two sides of the leaf and pulling out the stem.
You can peel kohlrabi before or after cooking, but it is easier to peel once it has been cooked. You can steam the bulb to loosen the skin. Trim the bulb to remove the fibrous under-layer just beneath the skin.
Serve. Kohlrabi can be served raw, grated, sprinkled with salt, or cooked. Kohlrabi can be steamed, added to soups and stews, and stir-fried.
- To serve raw, peel and slice or cut into strips, cubes, or wedges to serve with crudités.
- Julienne kohlrabi for vegetable or meat salads. Grate or shred to add to slaw or toss with rémoulade sauce (mayonnaise, mustard, capers, chopped gherkins, herbs, and anchovies).
- Cook kohlrabi flesh like you would turnips or celeriac. Boil and serve tender crisp. (You may want to change the water twice when boiling for a lighter flavor.) Peel and steam and serve with lemon juice and melted butter.
- Add whole peeled kohlrabi to braised dishes and stews and cook about 20 minutes. You can add the leaves half way through.
- Roast kohlrabi chunks in a pan with meats or poultry.
- Cut the flesh into slices or wedges and add to Chinese stir-fry or Indian curry.
- Combine peeled kohlrabi with potatoes when making scalloped potatoes.
- Dip kohlrabi slices or sticks into tempura batter and deep-fry.
- Kohlrabi leaves can be cooked like spinach. Trim and boil the leaves until tender about 2-3 minutes, drain then aside and serve.
- Sprinkle cooked leaves with lemon juice and a dollop of butter.
- Purple kohlrabi may change color during cooking and become whitish colored.
Nutrition. Kohlrabi is rich in potassium and vitamin C. There are about 40 calories per cup of raw kohlrabi.
Kohlrabi facts and trivia. Kohlrabi originated in Northern Europe as late as the fifteenth or sixteenth century although Pliny, the ancient Roman, described a similar vegetable grown by the Romans in the first century.
Today kohlrabi is most popular in Germany and Central Europe. In Italy, it is known as cavolo-rapa, which means cabbage turnip.
The botanical name for kohlrabi is Brassica oleracea var. gongylodes.